Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco that would help meet increased demand for public employees during the COVID pandemic was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.
Senator Bucco’s bill providing for the temporary employment of former public workers to fill voids during the Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. (Flickr)
The bill (S-2376) provides for the temporary employment of former public workers who retired from the Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System or the State Police Retirement System during the Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency.
“This is a sensible approach to providing crucial services during the crisis,” said Bucco (R-25). “We can utilize the abilities of recent retirees who are thoroughly trained, experienced, tested and ready to help. The state is facing unprecedented challenges due to the virus, and the usual rules and regulations don’t always work to the public’s advantage. We need to adapt.”
Bucco’s measure will help fill voids in the ranks of law enforcement and firefighters, and also bolster the rosters dealing with backlogs and delays for unemployment and motor vehicle services.
The Assembly version of the bill was unanimously approved in April.
“People are suffering from this ongoing crisis and they don’t know where to turn for help,” said Bucco. “This bill provides desperately needed support and will help people get unemployment payments they deserve and eliminate some of the stress and frustration they can ill afford during these trying times.”
Bucco’s bill would temporarily lift the usual 30-day waiting period for new hires becoming eligible for health benefits coverage, removing the limit on the number of Class Two special law enforcement officers that may be employed during the crisis, allowing any candidate who completed the Alternate Route Training to be appointed as a Class Two special officer until the end of the emergency.
In addition, under the bill, a member of the State Police who turns age 55 while in active service would not be required to retired during the public emergency and mandatory retirements age for members of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System will be suspended.
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